making my own trit glow fob

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djozz
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making my own trit glow fob

Hi, this is not about flashlights, although it does produce light and can be carried around :-).

Like more flashaholics, I like anything with tritium vials in it, but also like a lot of flashoholics (well, at least many from this beloved forum) I am not particularly rich. I do not own a McGizmo light or any other small light with thick metal parts that you can stuff with lots of trits (actually, some would fit in my $3.99 sk68 clone Cool), so I decided on a key fob. You can get them on ebay, but I really wanted one of those with more than one vial in it, and I believe there are not many people making them anymore, and that would be pretty expensive too. So I made one myself Smile

Luckily I could get a few of those vials with some discount in a dutch webshop (sorry, they do not ship abroad), so for 15 euro's shipped I was the proud owner of a green, a red, and a purple 20x3.2 mm betalight Smile .

 

Usually those internet key fobs are made of acrylics, I guess that is because it is a clear plastic that is fairly scratch resistant. I do not know well how to work with acrylics so I decided on polyester casting resin and hope that the material lasts for a while on my key chain.

the vials need to be casted in the middle of the polyester, so I started with a resin layer on the bottom, waited for 1.5 hours for it to reach the gel stage, placed the trits (not perfectly lined up, I never do anything perfectly Sad ), and slowly poored a layer of resin on top. Then I realised that the vials contain gas and may float, luckily they did not.

 

Two days later the polyester was hardened enough to continue. I pushed it out of the mold, looking good sofar:

Now I roughly sawed the shape of the fob, drilled a hole for the ring, and started sanding, first with rough sandpaper and then finer. I ended with polishing all sides extensively with plain copier paper, I found that that works to get the polyester reasonably shiny.

     

Now, I could not get the polyester crystal clear, I don't know how to do that, perhaps someone out there has a tip? (polishing with a Dremel and polishing paste does not do the trick). But then, the way it turned out I find pretty nice, and even a perfectly finished fob would look like this in no time when on the key chain for a while:

   

 

I am happy with it, it turned out nice, and it was not too hard to make it. It seems sturdy enough to last for years on my key chain, but only time will tell...

I hope you like it too, and that I inspired other people to make one for themselves?? (although I understand that those tritium vials are not everywhere easily obtainable Cry)

Thanks for reading Smile

 

 

2019, 12-28 , 5 years later, update in post #25

Edited by: djozz on 12/28/2019 - 11:08
DARCANGEL
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Awesome job,and a really neat DIY project.I'm a big fan of trits and they are really cool for customizing stuff like light,knives and so on.I think a headlight restoration kit might help bring the plastic to a higher polish,just a suggestion but I like it as it is.
djozz
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DARCANGEL wrote:
Awesome job,and a really neat DIY project.I'm a big fan of trits and they are really cool for customizing stuff like light,knives and so on.I think a headlight restoration kit might help bring the plastic to a higher polish,just a suggestion but I like it as it is.

Thanks.

And thanks for the tip, I just looked into a video showing a head light restoration kit, and basically they do the same, sanding finer and finer and then use some magic polish. I might try to get my hands on some of that stuff. For this key fob I am not going to get into that, I am keeping it as is.

Chloe
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I want to make one now! :bigsmile: Thank you for the inspiration! You can try Micromesh too if you want to work through grades up to 12000 grit should give a nice glassy finish.

I am thinking of a heart shape pendant with little pink tritium vials inside…

moderator007
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Nice job djozz, thanks for sharing. You got to love that trit, it so cool at night. 8)

rdrfronty
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Pretty cool. Nice job!

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Nice idea and build! Really gives off some lightbulbs in the head.

That is a pretty clear resin. I read somewhere from some boating forum that polyester resin never actually cures, is this true on your case – e.g it remains a bit soft? Maybe that’s why you can’t polish it? (Though we’re probably talking about a whole different polyester compound here, as the one I’m mentioning is the cheaper boat-building version.)

ImA4Wheelr
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Very cool.  Thank you for this very informative thread.

HBomb
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Cool! Is toothpaste abrasive harder than your polymer? If so, you could try that as a polishing compound.

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Genius! H) You have an amazing modding talent, Djozz.

djozz
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Thanks to you all for the kind replies, please post results Chloe, if you try out your heart shaped fob Love

Pulsar13 wrote:
Nice idea and build! Really gives off some lightbulbs in the head. That is a pretty clear resin. I read somewhere from some boating forum that polyester resin never actually cures, is this true on your case - e.g it remains a bit soft? Maybe that's why you can't polish it? (Though we're probably talking about a whole different polyester compound here, as the one I'm mentioning is the cheaper boat-building version.)

Polyester resin is in fact already a mix of medium long chains of polyester, adding the hardener causes the chains to cross-link. This cross-linking goes fast in the beginning when it is all fairly liquid, but still continues slowly when the piece is solid. So it keeps getting harder ever so slowly, even after weeks. I did the sanding and polishing after two days (impatient me), so the polishing may go better if I try again sometime after a few weeks. And I do not have the really fine grit sandpaper (just up to 800, the paper rub trick may just work by melting the surface a bit by friction), so getting the right series of sanding paper and doing the polishing right could also improve the result (thanks Chloe for the Micromesh tip, it is not really cheap but looks very good).

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You can use Micromesh wet too, in case the melting is affecting the finish.

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Chloe wrote:
You can use Micromesh wet too, in case the melting is affecting the finish.

That would probably help to keep it hard. It is on my wishlist, now wait for the next moment I feel like I can afford spending money on hobby things (instead of food, house, girlfriend, son, beer after volleyball match etc. Smile )

Gurthang
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Look for “Barkeeps Best Friend”. It’s a very fine, gentle polish, it works to restore just about any polished surface. I’ve used it on car headlights and glass lenses.

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Great work! I think i’ll try your method when i get more vials Wink

I got a good deal on a few different coloured 3×25mm tritium vials last year and
made some of these simpler keyfobs using 5mm clear tube and resin

I attached them to a bunch of different coloured Thrunite Ti’s and gave them as
little Christmas gifts to some friends & family. Went down really well with the non flashaholics Smile

djozz
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crx wrote:
Great work! I think i'll try your method when i get more vials Wink I got a good deal on a few different coloured 3x25mm tritium vials last year and made some of these simpler keyfobs using 5mm clear tube and resin !{width:40%}[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/cX0UDjG.jpg[/IMG]! I attached them to a bunch of different coloured Thrunite Ti's and gave them as little Christmas gifts to some friends & family. Went down really well with the non flashaholics :)

Those are also very nice, much nicer than the standard bulky ebay ones. It is a pity that there isn't more variety out there (exept the super-expensive custom made metal trit holders).

CRX
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This is an interesting site, some of Tofty’s work is on here:

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/tofty

You could design your own holder from different materials.

djozz
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crx wrote:
This is an interesting site, some of Tofty's work is on here: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/tofty You could design your own holder from different materials.

Thanks for the link, I had not been there before. I had seen some of his flashlights that he posted here, but these other things he makes are just as nice, and not that expensive.

8steve88
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Very good. I like those a lot djozz. Good workmanship. Truly a multi-talented djozz. Smile

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crx wrote:
This is an interesting site, some of Tofty’s work is on here:

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/tofty

You could design your own holder from different materials.


Some nice trit holders there. The spiral one is tempting.

Spiral stainless $11.15 Wish they could do a better finish on stainless. Printed stainless.


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

Chloe
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The spiral are lovely aren’t they? White/frosted plastic appeal to me the most, but really keychain unfriendly! >.<

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Necklace?

Quote:
I present the second version of my tritium keychain lantern for use with a 3×22.5mm tritium vial (tritium vial not included) and does not require a clear tube like my first version.

Perhaps the first version that used a tube inside would increase the trit’s protection enough for a plastic white/frosted keychain? Can’t find anything on ver 1 tho.

Some pics in another forum.

edit
Ver 1 with an inner tube wasn’t a spiral design… Sad I was thinking ver 1 of the spiral.


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

DB Custom
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Very Nice! That work with the polyester resin makes me want to give it a shot. I wonder… Smile

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Very nice, Djozz. I’d like to do something with trits myself sometime.

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Update.

After 5 years of hard time on my keychain, the fob looks like this:

It survived well, many bits have chipped off but the trits themselves are not exposed yet. It still looks amazing in the dark.

I had bought a small collection of trits a couple of years ago with good intentions to do something nice with them, but never did that. And trits do fade over time so today I just made them into keyfobs, basically like the the one in the OP, but now with a milky white perspex base, to try something different.

I first did a test pouring some resin on a bit of (partly finely sanded, partly shiny) perspex without trits to see if the adhesion of the polyester onto the perspex was good. It seemed that they formed one piece, but with a chisel and hammer I could split it partly along the transition plane from perspex to polyester, but not where it was sanded.

So I reckoned with some sanding of the perspex it was good enough, and made two fobs using 4 and 2 trits.

Sanding them in shape

And after polishing with subsequently 180, 1000, 3000, 5000, 7000 grit sandpaper and last with some white copier paper. And drilled holes in them.

The polishing is not perfect, I should finish it sometime. It does give an idea of the finished fobs. Now they are finished and I can see the effect of the white layer, I like the original transparent version better, but these are nice too Smile

hank
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There’s at least a slight chance tritium will be dirt cheap in a year or two.
https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Canadian-technology-offers-Fukus...

Quote:
The AWD technology would be a suitable option, Laker says, for the detritiation of water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi site in Japan, where large volumes of water treated by a system known as ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) remains in storage. ALPS removes most of the radioactive contamination from water which has come into contact with the damaged reactors and debris from the 2011 accident, with the exception of tritium.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has previously said storage capacity limits for the ALPS-treated water at Fukushima will be reached by 2022. Laker says its AWD technology can efficiently reduce the tritium concentrations to below naturally occurring rainwater levels, enabling safe release into the ocean.

djozz
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Interesting article, but the restproduct of the process is not tritium but O18 (radioactive oxigen). But in any case, without having much knowledge about that, I would think that the cost of making tritium vials is hardly in the littlebit of tritium used, but in the high-end technology of making the vials.

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I never noticed this thread before. Nicely done Jos!

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very cool! thanks for the update.

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Cool thread, thanks for the update Smile
I really like the original fob, it’s looking like a piece of ice, those cracked parts make it perfect.

Maybe it would help to add a frame of some sort so it wouldn’t get damaged any more but if it does you just make another one Smile

My last glowing project was this:


djozz
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Nice, what is it made of? Are the eyes resin with glowing powder mixed in?

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